Eco Tourism in ‘The Great Himalayas!’
The panoramic view of the mother earth always fascinates me. The crisp sound of chirping birds, the freshness of cool flowing waters of the mountains, the bounty of lush green forests and the vastness of limitless sky is all one needs to rejuvenate himself beyond any comparison. Recently, me and my husband decided take a short week-end break and travel somewhere in the mountains on a unique fun and frolic trip. New Delhi- the capital city being close to the Himalayas, we decided to head off to the abode of Gods- Himachal Pradesh.
Where in Himachal Pradesh?
Himachal Pradesh, which is the most sought after tourist destination in the northern part of India, lies in the foot of the Great Himalayas. There are a number of places to visit, however, we decided to go to a small place called ‘Shoghi’, located almost 15 kms before Shimla- the capital of the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh.
How to reach Shoghi?
From New delhi (Capital of India), one can take drive down (around 8-9 hours) or travel till Kalka via train (around 4 hours) and then hire a taxi from there to reach Shoghi (around 3 hours).
We took the morning Kalka Shatabdi express train from New Delhi railway station and headed straight to Kalka. In about 4 hours, we reached the town of Kalka, which derives its name from the Hindu Goddess Kali. The town which lies in the foot hills of the Himalayas was en route to our destination.
We hired a cab from Kalka and drove through the mountains on National Highway 22. Since we travelled in the month of June, the weather was very pleasant. The ideal time to visit Himachal is during the peak summer season (April to June) as it serves a perfect gateway to escape the scorching heat of the plains. In about 1.5 hours, we reached Dharampur, a small town and halted there to have a steaming cup of tea. After a brief halt of about 20 mins, we headed straight towards our destination, by-passing Kasauli which is a famous tourist destination as well. After reaching Kandaghat, we diverted towards Chail which is famous for the Chail Palace- well known for its architecture; the palace was built as summer retreat by the Maharaja of Patiala during the British Raj. The route from Kandaghat to Chail is surrounded by the forests of pine and deodars. The freshness of cool breeze coming through the leaves and branches of pine trees fills one with the rarely found natural freshness in the crowded cities. As we reached Sadhupul, a small village situated on the Chail road, a sign board with the name of our adventure resort which lied in the lap of Himalayas- HAIL HIMALAYAS guided us.
The adventure resort (HAIL HIMALAYAS!)
We reached the last point till where we could have driven and realized that we were in the middle of nowhere. Surrounded by lush green forests, blue sky and a cool weather, we had to trek down to reach our camp at Hail Himalayas. We started walking very cautiously and vigilantly and reached the end point. The view was mesmerizing, the serene environment filled in us a unique feeling of tranquility, the fresh and pure water from the Himalayas reminded us of the generosity of Mother Nature, pear and plum trees surrounded us as if they were all promising a perfect dose of health for the entire humanity. Could we expect anything more close to the nature? After the informal welcome by the cool fresh breeze and gentle shower of drizzle we were formally greeted by the staff which was very courteous, homely and loving.
We had booked a ‘Jungle Inn’ room and were escorted by the staff to have glimpse of the place we were supposed to live. The room was actually a tent hut nestled amid pine, deodar and other herbal trees and plantation. The room had floor bedding, a set of blankets, towels and bottles of natural mineral water and other basic requirements. The tent had a small bulb which served our basic purpose. No air conditioners, no fans, and no heaters, gave us the real feeling that we were in the lap of Mother Nature.
Food- Organic meals
After settling down, we were served with lunch which was very delicious and nutritious. A simple meal made out of the local organic vegetables and spices which are grown and cured in the resort farms only.
The staff there made some mouthwatering snacks which were accompanied by music arranged by the staff people. The ecstasy of enjoying drinks in such an ambiance would certainly be cherished by any one. If you are a nature lover and love to explore new places then this place is equipped with almost everything that one needs to relax and unwind themselves.
The dinner there was served in the form of a buffet in the dining area where all the guests gathered. Again, like all the other meals, the dinner prepared was very sumptuous with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisines offered.
There are fixed timing for breakfast, lunch and dinner and one needs to adhere to them.
Activities offered by the resort
Rock climbing, ring walking, rappelling, valley crossing ,water rappelling to name a few. Professional help is also provided by the resort.
Staff at the resort
The staff there is very courteous and helpful. They make sure each guest is given proper attention.
During the night we could hear some lightening which indicated rainfall. Water stared pouring on our tent and the weather suddenly becoming very cold. It could not have gotten better- we wanted to escape the heat of plains and here we were, enjoying the nature and its bliss!
We woke up to a very pleasant morning, with the trees and plants looking fresh (because of the down pour) and cheerful. We went for a morning walk in the forest around and enjoyed every bit of our time spent there. We then got fresh, had our breakfast and headed straight towards a trek in the mountains. The resort had trained mountaineers who guided us through our way into the mountains. We carried a bottle of water and a small towel and went in a group of 10-15 people. Walking on mountain trails we at many places experienced the dancing daffodils, the lanes of small flowers moving on the stroke of wind reminded us of the very famous poem ‘Daffodils’ by Wordsworth. For a minute, we just forgot the hustle bustle of the city life which we had left behind for few days. The trek (too and fro) took almost 3 hours. By the time we were back, we felt very tired. The lunch was ready and waiting for us to be pounced upon.
It was almost time for us to head back to our home now. We followed the same route back home and believe me when I say so, we were re-charged and ready to get back to work after this small stint we had with the beautiful Himalayas.
Route from Shoghi to New Delhi- Hire a cab till Kalka and from there take the New Delhi Kalka Shatabdi train.